Floyd Mayweather isn’t frugal by any means, but with dozens of world title belts scattered around his home, $200,000 was a bit much even for a boxer nicknamed “Money” to pay for a title belt.
Mayweather failed to pay the $200,000 sanction fee required by the World Boxing Organization for the belt he won on May 2 when he defeated Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas by the deadline, which was the end of the business day on Friday. So on Monday, the Puerto Rico-based organization stripped Mayweather of its title.
It elevated Timothy Bradley, who defeated Jessie Vargas on June 27 for the interim championship, to full champion status.
WBO rules require boxers to pay 3 percent of their purse in order to fight for a world title, with a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $200,000 for fighters like Mayweather who earn extraordinary large purses.
Normally, fighters are required to pay the sanction fee on the night of the fight, and it’s deducted from their purse. But Mayweather, who has had a long history with the WBC, wasn’t sure he wanted the WBO title. As a result, the WBO gave Mayweather time.
Even though sanctioning bodies are routinely perceived as the bad guy in situations like this, the WBO conducted itself honorably. It worked with Mayweather to find an acceptable solution, put the requirements in writing and then yanked the belt from Mayweather when he failed to comply.
Both the WBO and the WBC have taken great steps forward in recent years, and have done much to clean up their end of the business.
The fact that the WBO stood firm and followed its rules is encouraging.
The loss of the title is no big deal to Mayweather, who is far bigger than any belt. And it’s not as if the WBO is struggling. Pacquiao paid his sanction fee, and would have kept the belt had he won, so the WBO still made $200,000 on May 2 from that fight.
I’m not a big fan of stripping fighters of belts they’ve won in the ring. But if they refuse to defend it, or won’t pay the agreed-upon fee to keep it, it’s appropriate.
It kind of makes record-keeping messy — Does anyone really think Bradley is the best 147-pounder in the world? — and it’s why there are so many four-, five- and six-time champions floating around.
Still, this is a situation in which everyone involved did the right thing.
That is a rarity in boxing, so kudos are deserved in this case.